Only playing matches against bigger teams doesn’t ensure you a better game nor does lack of international games completely obliterate it.
There is no doubt that England is a better side but a complete humiliation of conceding a 8-2 defeat is not which should have happened with four times former world champion Pakistan.
Had it not been Bhubaneshwar in India but a city of Europe, adverse weather and condition would be another excuse for the green-shirt officials for this humiliating defeat.
Recently Pakistan team Coach Shahnaz Sheikh has given an excuse that the green-shirts haven’t played much hockey against European side, which was the reason that they lost to Belgium 2-1 and England 8-2.
If this could be taken as right criteria for evaluating performance of teams against one another then it could easily be questioned that the other teams haven’t played against the green-shirts and therefore the green-shirts might have the advantage of element of surprise!
The hockey chiefs, not Shahnaz alone, should ponder and just don’t pass the buck. It may even be that Shahnaz might be doing his best, but still there is something missing.
Perhaps the right players or might be the right kind of training for them. Lack of talent and expertise is out of the question since Pakistan still holds the record of having won the most number of Hockey World Cup title, winning it four times.
So there is immense talent, and the expertise without a question, but the missing link is how the raw talent is polished and groomed. There have been many instances in sports when lowly athletes like Hashim Khan could stun top players on their first outings and becomes legend.
The missing element for Pakistan is not present in playing against European teams, it is right here in Pakistan. A blend of selfless efforts and a will to bring glory for the country could bring the green-shirts back among the top teams if not on the top.